Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested a series of structural reforms in education ranging from schools to universities.The Modi government is planning to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) with a single higher education regulator.The new body will most-likely be calledAgency HEERA – Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency.The proposed Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA) is aimed at eliminating overlaps in jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions.
UGC and AICTE are two apex organisations that cater for the higher studies in India.One of the main differences between University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), is that the later one basically deals with technical education. UGC approves universities in the country. It provides funds for affiliated universities and colleges. The AICTE is only a statutory body, which deals with co-ordinated development and proper planning of the technical education system in the country.
The new single regulator is touted to be the “cleanest, most sweeping reform” that will “eliminate all overlaps in the jurisdiction and also do away with regulatory provisions that may no longer be relevant.” Further a single regulator will bring in greater synergy among institutions and would also help in framing better curricula.The new regulator will also be empowered to take strong penal action when required. Moreover the technical and non-technical education will be taken under one umbrella which is HEERA.
The decision to make this change was made after a meeting on education chaired by Prime Minister Modi in March, reported The Economic Times. Senior officials said work is currently on to frame the Heera legislation. The new law is being worked out by the Human Resource Development Ministry and the Niti Aayog. A committee, comprising Niti Aayog’s Amitabh Kant and higher education secretary KK Sharma among others, is also working on the details.